In the world of internet self-diagnosis, it’s easy to be a hypochondriac, especially with the possibility of over 12,000 possible conditions that inflict humans. Researching a simple head cold online can lead you to believe that it’s inoperable brain cancer. However, there are much more likely and serious conditions that millions of people live with every day without realizing it – undiagnosed common diseases.
According to estimates there are nearly 1.8 million Americans that have celiac disease, but only about 22% of them have actually been diagnosed with it. Celiac disease prevents the small intestine from digesting vital nutrients and food, causing a hypersensitivity to gluten, which is found in barley, wheat, and rye. A whole range of gastrointestinal symptoms from bloating to unexplained weight loss can point to celiac. In addition, general problems such as hair loss, muscle cramps, and bruising easily can result from long term nutrient deficiency.
The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has shocking statistics that around 79 million adults are pre-diabetic, meaning that they have a high probability of getting full blown diabetes within their lifetime, which could have been completely prevented. Another startling number is that about 27% of the population with diabetes doesn’t know that they have it.
Diabetes is a metabolic disease that inhibits glucose production causing elevated glucose levels in the blood. Like celiac, the symptoms of diabetes can also be very subtle. Changes in your appetite and thirst, slow healing cuts and bruises, and fatigue can all be indicators that you are pre-diabetic or diabetic.
Sleep apnea is thought to affect nearly 14% of adults, although the majority will never be treated since there is no simple blood test that can diagnose it. People with the disorder have regular breathing pauses throughout the night while they are sleeping, causing poor, shallow sleep and waking up throughout the night. Understandably, fatigue is a direct symptom of sleep apnea, but if it is never treated it can contribute to more serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even death if the brain is completely deprived of oxygen for too long.
There are other diseases that are on this list and they include: hepatitis C, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart failure (the heart’s inability to pump enough blood through the body). All in all, while you shouldn’t live your life in constant fear, it’s always good to know your body and to watch for changes that could be a serious health development.
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